The rituals and healing practices of the Kogi Indians of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Columbia, South America, are rich in story and the connection to art processes as a healing technology. Rooted in the living metaphor of the woven world, the Kogi are tethered to the earth and sky through ritualistic practices where the daily objects of life, are  symbolically tied to the larger models of the universe. The questions that are raised when considering cultural survival, identity and relevant health issues, are worthy of our attention, as more and more indigenous peoples are loosing their land,  cultural heritage, and healing technologies.

We cannot address issues facing indigenous people of the world without looking at each culture within the context of their environment. Similarly, we must look at our own health issues and practices within the context of the environment within which we, as a culture are embedded.  In Cultural Survival, a resource website for Indigenous cultures of the world, the news is staggering for the next generation of traditional cultures. In Central America,

Current estimates of deforestation in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras are 50,000, 65,000 and 80,000 hectares a year respectively.

What does this mean in the larger picture of the world? While we are busy texting and visiting callers on our mobile devices, cultures who have inhabited, cultivated and used traditional plants as medicinal technologies are being displaced from their natural laboratory. The environment around them is being destroyed on a daily basis. In the larger picture, it is not only the Indigenous cultures who will suffer largely from the rest of the world’s need for more resources. Ultimately, the whole world will reap the consequences of our collective destruction of land, plants and people.

What is the solution? The complexities are fierce, however, one possible solution may be in re-imagining and re-placing traditional cultures within the environment in which they thrive.  Let us protect the lands wherein they dwell.  As an example, the Kogi, who have maintained their traditional cultural heritage for over 1000 years, have been pushed further and further inward as the periphery of their landscape changes shape. They have been able to sustain and hold onto their cultural identity and beliefs within the environment of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is also the case of other traditional cultures of the world.

“Despite the trauma and loss of their traditional agricultural lands and the decimation of their populations due to contact with the rapidly expanding European societies, many of these groups have continued to practice their cultural traditions within their  forest environments.” (Houseal)

We must find creative solutions to stop the destruction of cultural identity, the biosphere and natural world that serves us all, and a sense of place that is left intact for Indigenous people and the rest of the world. A creative solution may be offered through technology, wherein, videos, recordings and cultural awareness can be brought into the spotlight for all to see. Education and cultural awareness of Indigenous people is the first step that can engage the tenants of social media, and the world at large to become a voice for the diverse cultures of the world.

(Houseal)

 

Despite the trauma of the loss of their traditional agricultural lands and the decimation of their populations due to contact with the rapidly expanding European societies, many of these groups have continued to practice their cultural traditions within their forest environments. – See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/indigenous-cultures-and-protected-areas-central-america#sthash.mlLn2IoO.dpuf

 

 

Despite the trauma of the loss of their traditional agricultural lands and the decimation of their populations due to contact with the rapidly expanding European societies, many of these groups have continued to practice their cultural traditions within their forest environments. – See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/indigenous-cultures-and-protected-areas-central-america#sthash.mlLn2IoO.dpuf

 

Current estimates of annual deforestation rates in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras are 50,000, 65,000 and 80,000 hectares per year, respectively. – See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/indigenous-cultures-and-protected-areas-central-america#sthash.mlLn2IoO.dpuf
Current estimates of annual deforestation rates in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras are 50,000, 65,000 and 80,000 hectares per year, respectively. – See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/indigenous-cultures-and-protected-areas-central-america#sthash.mlLn2IoO.dpuf
Current estimates of annual deforestation rates in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras are 50,000, 65,000 and 80,000 hectares per year, respectively. – See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/indigenous-cultures-and-protected-areas-central-america#sthash.mlLn2IoO.dpuf
Current estimates of annual deforestation rates in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras are 50,000, 65,000 and 80,000 hectares per year, respectively. – See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/indigenous-cultures-and-protected-areas-central-america#sthash.mlLn2IoO.dpuf

 

 

Below is a documentary about the Kogi. It is called, “The Heart of the World.” It was produced

by the BBC in association with the Goldsmith foundation. The rituals and healing practices of

the Kogi have never been documented as extensively as you will see in this documentary.